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Half of the RAM disappears intermittently

This is a discussion on Half of the RAM disappears intermittently within the RAM and Power Supply Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. This is a PC I put together in 2012. I have two 4GB RAM sticks and when the system was


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Old 08-14-2016, 11:11 AM   #1
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This is a PC I put together in 2012. I have two 4GB RAM sticks and when the system was originally put together I was not paying much attention and installed them on slots A1 and A2, when they were supposed to be in A1/B1 or A2/B2. Because of this, the PC only used one stick for a couple of months before I actually noticed and reinstalled them in the correct slots. The system has been working fine until a couple of month ago it started to freeze and after a manual restart half the RAM was unusable. These are the things I have tried: test one stick at a time (both worked), swap module slots, use slots A1/B1 then A2/B2, clean the contacts with alcohol, clean the slots, tinker with settings in the BIOS. All of these produce a temporary fix, where the system would work for a couple of weeks or maybe a couple of months, then a random freeze and all starts over again. Rinse and repeat. I know this is not an OS issue as the freezing has occurred on both Windows and Ubuntu, and the RAM is missing in both. I did notice that the BIOS always recognizes both modules, but shows single-channel when the problems starts and when everything is fine it runs in dual-channel.

I appreciate any help with this issue.

Computer Specs:
===============
CPU: AMD FX-8120 8-Core Zambezi
RAM: Team-Elite-1333 8.00 GB (2 x 4GB)
Mobo: ASRock 970 Extreme3
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 1GB (MSI)
HDD: Seagate 1.5TB / Hitachi 320GB
OS: Windows 10 / Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (both 64-bit)
PSU: Corsair CX750M 750W


According to Speccy:
====================
Memory slots
Total memory slots 4
Used memory slots 2
Free memory slots 2

Memory
Type DDR3
Size 8192 MBytes
Channels # Single
DRAM Frequency 647.7 MHz
CAS# Latency (CL) 9 clocks
RAS# to CAS# Delay (tRCD) 9 clocks
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 9 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS) 24 clocks
Bank Cycle Time (tRC) 33 clocks

Physical Memory
Memory Usage 27 %
Total Physical 3.96 GB
Available Physical 2.89 GB
Total Virtual 4.65 GB
Available Virtual 3.50 GB

SPD
Number Of SPD Modules 2
Slot #1
Slot #2

According to OS Properties:
================================
Windows 10: "Installed memory (RAM): 8.00 GB (3.96GB usable)"
Ubuntu 16.04: "Memory 3.8 GiB"
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:51 PM   #2
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:56 AM   #3
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Hmmm, it is odd you only saw 4GB when you initially put the 2nd stick in the wrong slot. Typically, it will still work but the motherboard will not configure the RAM in "dual channel" memory mode.

I agree to test your RAM. Be sure to let the program run for several passes (or even overnight). You should have zero errors. Note that no software based memory analyzer is conclusive. They may not find problems but the memory can still be faulty. But if they report problems, the memory is definitely bad.

Quote:
I know this is not an OS issue as the freezing has occurred on both Windows and Ubuntu, and the RAM is missing in both. I did notice that the BIOS always recognizes both modules, but shows single-channel when the problems starts and when everything is fine it runs in dual-channel.
I agree with your conclusion that this is not an OS issue.

You said you "tinkered" with the BIOS, did you reset it? Have you replaced the CMOS battery? While some CMOS batteries will last 5, 7 or even 10 years, you really can only expect them to last 3 to 4 years. I would replace it just because they are inexpensive so little is lost if not the problem. Be sure you unplug the computer from the wall and touch bare metal of the case interior BEFORE reaching in to discharge any static in your body. I hope you did that every time before you touched the RAM too. Do not touch the new battery with your bare fingers as skin oils promote corrosion and attract dust. I put a clean cotton sock over my hand. Then boot directly into the BIOS Setup Menu to set the date and time and ensure your drive boot order is correct, then Save and Exit to [hopefully] boot normally and with your full 8GB recognized.
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Old 08-17-2016, 07:29 PM   #4
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So, now the PC randomly froze again and returned to dual-channel mode showing all 8GB as available. Something it had not done before. I will try testing the memory as suggested. Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2016, 05:58 AM   #5
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